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Economist Says Tenure 'Has Little to Do With Student Achievement'

Economist Says Teacher Tenure 'Has Little to Do With Student Achievement'

Tenure in public schools has been a regular topic of debate in the education realm. Many have argued that teacher tenure protects "bad teachers," and some agree, saying that getting good teachers is "tricky."

Finding the best instructors is challenging, according to Jesse Rothstein, a former Obama Administration economist and expert on the quality of instruction in public schools, in a recent Washington Post article. Rothstein argued that even without tenure, getting good teachers would be difficult, and it has very little to do with student achievement. 

The article in the Post reflects a phone interview between Rothstein and writer Max Ehrenfreund of the paper's Wonkblog, where they discussed teacher tenure and its effects on current issues in education. Wonkblog asked Rothstein what the best method is to evaluate teachers, and he replied that "there is no perfect method."

"I think there are lots of methods that give you some information, and there are lots of problems with any method," Rothstein said. "I think there's been a tendency in thinking about methods to prioritize cheap methods over methods that might be more expensive. In particular, there's been a tendency to prioritize statistical computations based on student test scores, because all you need is one statistician and the test score data. Classroom observation requires having lots of people to sit in the back of lots and lots of classrooms and make judgments."

Next week, Wonkblog will be interviewing David Boies, who is the new chairman of the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group that is setting out to challenge teacher tenure legally across the country.

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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